UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies



My research interests focus on the governance of science, sociology of new technology and science in public. Currently my research falls into two broad areas:

Governance of new technologies

I am currently a Co-investigator on an ESRC funded project (held in UCL's Barlett School of Planning) on the role of public evidence in nationally significant energy infrastructure projects. This is a two and a half year multidisciplinary project which follows on from previous work in this area. The project website can be found here.

From 2012 - 2015 I was part of a multidisciplinary research team working on a UCL Grand Challenges/Public Policy commission project on the Governance of Climate Change Technologies. The project is exploring the role of governance and public involvement in low-carbon technologies.  The three academic publications from this project are listen below and the accompanying UCL Public Policy briefings can be found here.

In early 2012 I was awarded a UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant for a project on online social media research. The Project blog can be found here. The project collated the existing work on social media at UCL.

Between 2009-12 I was part of a multidisciplinary research team at UCL, who, under the Grand Challenges Research conducted research into Carbon Governance


  • Rydin, Y, Lee, M & Lock SJ. (2015) 'Public engagement in decision-making on major wind energy projects', Journal of Environmental Law, 27(1):139-150 (available as open access)
  • Lock, SJ, Smallman, M, Lee, M, Rydin, Y. (2014), 'Nuclear energy sounded wonderful 40 years ago: UK citizens views on CCS', Energy Policy, Volume 66, March 2014, Pages 428–435 (available as open access)
  • Lee, M., Armeni, C., Cendra, J. D., Chaytor, S., Lock, S., Maslin, M., Rydin, Y. (2012). 'Public Participation and Climate Change Infrastructure'. Journal of Environmental Law. doi:10.1093/jel/eqs027.

Public understanding of, and engagement with, science and technology

I have spent over a decade studying the history and sociology of the public understanding of science movement in the UK and its impact on science policy, particularly public engagement with science.

I have previously conducted research (with Karen Bultitude) for the Wellcome Trust on researcher's attitudes to, and understandings of, public engagement.

My PhD, funded by the ESRC, was entitled: ‘Lost in Translations: Discourse, Boundaries and Legitimacy in the Public Understanding of Science in the UK.’

The project was a sociological and historical study of the different actors, concepts and discourses of public understanding of science in the UK. Drawing on documentary analysis and interview data, it examined how the concepts of ‘the public’, ‘science’ and the relationship between science and public, have been constructed and contested by different professional groups. It identified four distinct phases of debate since 1985 and related these recent concerns within a broader historical context of debates over the relationship between science and the public.


  • Stilgoe, J., Lock, S. J., & Wilsdon, J. (2014). Why should we promote public engagement with science? Public Understanding of Science, 23 (1), 4–15. (Available through SAGE Open Access)
  • Simon J Lock, (2011), ‘Deficits and dialogues: science communication and the public understanding of science in the UK’, in David Bennett and Richard Jennings, eds, Communicating Science For Scientists (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  • Jane Gregory and Simon Jay Lock (2008), ‘The evolution of ‘Public Understanding of Science’: Public engagement as a policy tool in the UK’, Sociology Compass, 2/4, 1252 – 1265.
  • Jane Gregory, Jon Agar, Simon Lock and Susie Harries (2008) ‘Public engagement in the private sector: a new form of Public Relations?’ Science Communication for the 21st Century, edited by Martin W. Bauer and Massimiamo Bucchi (London: Routledge).

Other research

Representation and display of science

I have also conducted research with Dr Angela Cassidy (Exeter) and Dr Georgina Voss (UCL/SPRU) on the display and representations of sex in the museum setting, with an examination of the Sexual Natures exhibition at the Natural History Museum.


  • Cassidy, A., Lock, S. J., & Voss, G. (2016). Sexual Nature? (Re)presenting Sexuality and Science in the Museum. Science as Culture, 25(2), 214–238. 

Science and Sexualities

As a side interest I am also currently conducting research with Dr Angela Cassidy (UEA) and Dr Georgina Voss (UCL/SPRU) on the relationship between scientific research and sexualities, particularly examining the co-construction of both. We are particularly interested in the potential for STS as a discipline to engage with this research area.